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Top 10 luxury brand mobile apps of 2012By Erin Shea
Luxury marketers incorporated new technologies into branded mobile applications to wow their consumers, further engage with brand enthusiasts and boost mobile sales this year.
As mobile becomes an increasingly important outreach channel, some markers are ahead of the pack in their use of its distinct capabilities. Luxury brands in categories including apparel and accessories, automotive, jewelry and travel created engaging mobile apps to be part of their overall strategy this year.
Here are the top 10 luxury brand mobile apps of 2012, in alphabetical order:
Bloomingdale’s’ Big Brown Bag
Department store chain Bloomingdale’s rolled out an iPhone and Android app to let fashion-savvy consumers shop the latest trends, as well as check prices and read product reviews.
Consumers can find the nearest location to learn more about in-store events and special offers via the Big Brown Bag app.
Users can also create and manage their wedding registry and shop from the registries of their friends and family.
The in-store bar code scanner lets customers view additional product details and read customer reviews.
Additionally, customers can manage their Loyallist rewards points and pay their Bloomingdale’s credit via the app.
The app also lets customers find discounts and promotions and scan products in-store to view available promotions.
Christian Louboutin’s Louboutin
French footwear label Christian Louboutin is showcasing collections and designer sketches in its first iPhone app that acts as a to-go guide to the brand. It is available for free in the App store for iPhone and iPod.
The app lets consumers view shoes and handbags from the current collection, add products to an in-app wishlist, share images via Facebook, Twitter and email and locate a retailer.
The label is also sharing product videos, sketches of its 20th Anniversary Capsule Collection and brand news.
The home screen of the app contains six squares arranged in three rows of two. Each square leads to a section including Collection, Video, 20 Ans, What’s New, Wish List and Store Locator.
The Collection section, for example, shows the spring/summer 2012 collection as well as available women’s shoes, men’s shoes, women’s bags and accessories.
Users can click on a product to go to a larger image. In this view, they can read a product description, add an item to the in-app wish list and share via Facebook, Twitter or email.
De Beers’s De Beers Bridal
De Beers stepped up to its competition through an app for the iPhone and iPad that serves as a wedding jewelry finder as well as a consultant on diamonds and the brand.
Consumers can look at engagement rings, wedding bands and jewelry. There is also access to videos and other details about the De Beers brand, history, design and the diamonds it uses.
When consumers search through the De Beers collection to choose an engagement ring, they can add it to their favorites, share with a friend or move to the next section, which is matching the ring to a wedding band.
Consumers can look at the two rings on the same screen as they try to make a match. When the wedding band is chosen, users can put the two rings together to see how they look next to one another.
There is also the option to complete the purchase with an eternity band – mostly used for anniversaries – or wedding day necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
The app sets itself apart from other jewelry brand apps with special features.
One feature is the expert guidance and service. In a section called The De Beers Difference, the brand gives access to its diamonds, designs and craftsmanship through content and videos.
Another important aspect of the app is that De Beers strives for repeat usage. Consumers may keep coming back to select jewelry and eternity bands for other important moments in their lives.
Ferrari’s Ferrari Mania
Italian automaker Ferrari is immersing consumers in the brand through an all-encompassing iPhone and iPad app that takes advantage of the capabilities of a mobile device such as the camera, wallpaper and augmented reality.
The app includes a Ferrari-themed camera, custom alarm click sounds, brand wallpapers, augmented reality, a speed simulator, videos, a dealer locator and the Ferrari store.
The first section on the home screen is Cars that contains image galleries, videos and performance stats on Ferrari’s current and classic models. It also features some Sports Prototype models and Formula 1 cars.
Next, the Clock section is a customizable clock inspired by classic Ferrari tachometers. Users can set their alarm to be the sound of the engine of the F12berlinetta vehicle or another sound.
The About section gives more information about the company and allows users to locate nearby dealers.
Another section in the app is Experience. It is split into four sub-sections: RedCam, Virtual, Photos and Wallpapers.
RedCam lets users capture images using filters, while the Virtual section is the augmented reality aspect of the app.
The app also contains a Store section where users can browse the Ferrari Store via the mobile app.
Toyota Corp.’s Lexus introduced its GS 350 model with an app that sets competing models side-by-side so consumers can see differentiating features from both vehicles.
The Lexus GS app was created by Lexus College, which is a department that is responsible for dealer training. The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store.
There are three key factors that differentiate this Lexus app from others. The first is the competitive comparisons feature.
The app allows consumers to position the GS and its competitor side-by-side or stacked on top of one another.
Another differentiating feature is the key takeaway. Each vehicle hotspot has a key takeaway, which provides the salesperson a quick key selling point, per the brand.
Consumers can also use the “favorites” option to go back to vehicles quickly after they have left the app.
Mr Porter’s The Tux
Men’s online retailer Mr Porter is showing affluent males how to dress for parties through its first iPad app that acts as an interactive magazine and video hub centered on the tuxedo.
The Tux app is split into four chapters that each focuses on a different aspect of wearing a tuxedo. The magazine-style app is available for free in the App Store for iPad.
The main screen of the app is a map on which four locations are shown. Each location represents a chapter of the app.
Chapter one is titled “The Tux Revival.” It contains four sections including a video feature on how three different men sport their tuxedo, a video showing five popular tuxedo styles, an interactive bow tie tutorial and a men’s accessories feature.
The second chapter is titled “Shaken Not Stirred.” Features in this chapter include video demonstrations from three mixologists, a map of the retailer’s favorite bars around the world, a virtual cocktail shaker tool and a video featuring actor Michael K. Williams called “The Reinvention.”
Chapter three is called “What A Swell Party.” It contains four features: an animated tutorial video called “How to Dance Well,” conversation-starters, videos of past notable parties such as Sir Elton John’s birthday parties and an animated video on party etiquette.
The last section is “The Way We Wore It.” Users can browse videos on how the tuxedo became a man’s best friend, videos on how to recreate celebrity looks, a video on the Mr Porter exclusive tuxedo by Brioni and a link to shop on Mr Porter’s ecommerce site.
Nordstrom’s Nordstrom for iPad
Department store chain Nordstrom offers a personalized mobile shopping experience in its iPad app that is available for free in the App Store.
The three main engagement functions of the Nordstrom for iPad app are the virtual dressing room, personalized homepage and social sharing.
Users can sign in with their Nordstrom.com account for streamlined checkout.
The Dressing Room lets users save items according to “looks.” There is capacity for up to 75 looks for each app user.
Users can double-tap or drag items to the Dressing Room section to add them to a particular look.
Clicking on an item at any time brings users to a page that contains product details, additional images, customer views and buttons to add the item to the Dressing room or Shopping Bag and see if it is available to pick up in a store.
The app also offers a personalized homepage that users can create based on the departments that they want to see first. All departments can be viewed on the homepage at the same time.
Prada’s Il Palazzo
Italian fashion house Prada is showcasing its collections and art collaboration with illustrator Richard Haines in a virtual palace via its first mobile app for the iPad.
Portraits by Mr. Haines and digital replicas of new Prada accessories are featured in the Il Palazzo app created by James Lima, who worked with the brand on its first animated videos.
The app is available for free in the App Store for the iPad and was part of a multi-platform project by Prada.
Users can take a tour of a virtual palace.
Inside it are Prada items and portraits by Mr. Haines. These same portraits were featured in a handmade book created by the artist.
The app features different collections including the Portrait Sunglass and the Bloom Jewels. The collections shown on the app were constantly updated by Prada as they were available.
Starwood’s Starwood Preferred Guest app update
Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Preferred Guest program updated its mobile app to create a seamless, guest-centric experience for all nine of its brands, including St. Regis and The Luxury Collection.
SPG’s app updates include content based on whether or not the user is planning, en route or already checked-in to a specific hotel.
The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and Google Play for Android devices.
The personalized “My Stay” interface allows fully-integrated booking, member information, hotel searches, travel details, FaceTime customer service and social media.
The updates are aligned with new SPG policies including 24-hour check-in and check-out, lifetime status and Starwood ambassadors.
Detailed information, photo galleries, transportation options, weather and local attractions are available for each hotel at each of Starwood’s brands when consumers are in the booking and researching process.
Starting 48 hours before a guest’s stay, a push notification is sent and rearranges the interface to become reflective of the specific brand and property.
When consumers are at the property, they can check-in on foursquare and other social media, access hotel information and room number and on- and off-property dining and activity suggestions.
Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski is pushing its new how-to book through companion iPhone and Android apps that let consumers virtually try on jewelry and see themselves as the book’s cover model.
With this app, Swarovski was looking to make the brand more accessible to its female consumers through its book called “Multiface(t)s: Style Yourself with Jewelry.”
The app is available for free in the App Store and Google Play. The book and the app are available in English and French.
Through the app, users can navigate to an exclusive interview with Swarovski’s creative director Nathalie Colin, a description of the book and the “Cover Star” tool.
The tool lets users try on Swarovski jewelry using their device’s camera.
First, users must choose which type of jewelry that they would like to try on from seven “style occasions” straight from the book. Categories are: Career Girl, Cocktail, Weekends, Girls Having Fun, Ready to Rock and Rendez-vous.
Users can choose from one of four necklaces or pendants in each category.
Next, users can take a picture with their smartphone’s camera to “try on” the piece of jewelry. The image of them in the jewelry can be saved and shared with other app users in the photo gallery or via social media.
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York
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